Steam rushed out of the iron. 
My great grandma slid its hot metal face 
over the sleeves of my grandpa’s shirt. 
Part of the shirt was burnt. 
She was too busy watching me.
The tea kettle whistled. 
She trotted into the kitchen.
I crawled toward the iron 
and pulled the wire. 
The burning metal
landed on my left hand.
 I cried and cried.
 My dad brought my teddy bear.
 I threw the teddy bear 
and it thumped into the wall. 
Last Breath
Jingle, jingle
Molly pushed through the door 
to Turtle Tower restaurant. 
She sniffed the air. 
The smell of mi wafted into her head. 
Her favorite is Vietnamese meat called Bo 
and purple potatoes. 
Paper lanterns hung from the ceiling. 
Bright lights amazed one the flies.
Uncle Dong snatched the bug in his fist 
as it took its last breath. 
A Pop of Red
The smell of the doctor’s office
 filled my living room. 
My grandma clenched onto my hand and 
kissed me on the forehead. 
I smiled and I felt my cheeks flash pink. 
My grandma giggled. 
Her lipstick, 
a pop of red. 
When I traced the wrinkles on her hand 
they stretched and softened. 
About the Author
Hi! My name is Linda Munkhbaatar. I am ten years old, and I was born on December 19, 2001 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I live in San Francisco with my mom, dad, little brother, and my grandma. I like to dance and swim. I am also good at both things and want to be famous for swimming. I want to be good at cooking someday. When I grow up I want to be an artist because I like to be creative. My teacher says I am perspicacious. If I were a plant I would be a rose because my thorns would protect me. My favorite series of books are Amelia’s Guidebooks because they are about helping you with problems. One thing I wonder about a lot is when the universe was created. The scariest moment of my life was when I moved to America because I was afraid no one would like me. I was also excited to see new stuff and to do new stuff. If I got the chance to go backward in time I would go to 2008 to experience the time my brother was born. I speak English and Mongolian. This is my third published book. I am also the author of Can You Dance and Anonymity Attacks. 


Leaves tumbled down the hill. Fog floated through the air. A plastic bag flew over Song’s shoe as she wandered to school. She bumped into her old friend Kim. 
“Watch where you’re going!” Kim said.
“Kim?” said Song.
“Oh,” said Kim, “Long time no see.”
“Where are you going?” 
“I transferred to your school, Lexington,” said Kim. They walked the rest of the way together.
When they arrived, Song showed Kim around. They wandered all over the cafeteria, smelling the floor wax. Song led Kim to the principal’s office, the library and all the other places around the building. They passed by one of the hallway patrol. He’d tucked his shirt in but didn’t do a very good job. The ends were sticking out of his pants. 
“Who are you?” said the patroller. “Are you new here?”
Kim introduced herself.
“Well, don’t run or yell in the hallways.”
The principal strolled down the hall to the patroller and whispered into his ear. They both drifted to her office at the end of the hall. Kim asked Song if she would come to the bathroom with her.
  “Sure,” Song said, stepping down the stairs.
Kim pushed the bathroom door open. Paper towels stopped up the sinks. Humid air filled the room. Kim locked herself into a stall.
“Hurry up,” said Song. “We have to go to homeroom!”
Noises like wind mesmerized them.
“What was that?” Kim said, washing her hands.
“I have no idea,” Song said.
They froze like statues. 
“Do you think there’s a ghost in here?” Song said.
Kim nodded.
Song and Kim sat in their seats in homeroom. Their teacher, Mr. Fingbo told the students the history of Lexington School. 
“A girl somehow died in the bathroom,” he said. “Workers put a new floor over her body so now her spirit may be haunting the bathroom.” 
“Why didn’t they take her body out first?” Song said.
“I guess they were lazy,” Mr. Fingbo said. I heard that if you want to help her come back to life you have to find her grave. Her tombstone glows blue and it’s covered by rhinestones.”
“How did the girl die?” Kim said.
“Don’t ask me!” Mr. Fingbo said.
A wobbly-headed girl with braces said, ”Does it mean there is a ghost in the girl’s bathroom?” 
“Didn’t you pay attention?” Mr. Fingbo said. “Ok, class is dismissed now.”
Song and Kim ran to the bathroom after class and made sci-fi noises. That night, Kim went to Song’s house for a sleepover. Song asked her dad if he knew anything about ghosts. 
“I used to be a paranormal investigator,” her dad said. 
“Do you still have any equipment?” Song said.
“I have a ghost detector and suitcases of spirit-detecting equipment the attic.” 
“Can I use it?”
“Sure, I’m retired anyway.”
“Did anything happen to you when you were investigating the paranormal?” Song said.
“No, but they fired me because I was scared.”
The next morning Song and Kim walked onto the schoolyard, securing their paranormal goggles. A ghost drifted out of a classroom window. Song and Kim followed her into the ally behind the school. The ghost led them to an old mansion. The steps were covered with dry leaves and rotten tomatoes. The ghost swam through the air and disappeared through the mansion’s wall. Kim opened her suitcase. She grabbed some pills labeled AD: Absolutely Dangerous. These pills will make ghosts faint. 
Song placed her hand on the doorknob but Kim said, “Wait, don’t you see that this doorknob is covered in rotten crumbs?” 
“I didn’t know!” said Song. 
“Then look next time!” said Kim. 
Song snatched a curly-tipped stick from the ground. She pushed on the doorknob with it but the knob broke and fell down with a squeak. Waves of wind stroked the air. The doors flew open and rats scampered out. The girls leaped into the mansion and tiptoed to the bathroom. Song leaned against the wall and jumped away, disgusted. 
Kim helped song to turn on the bathroom sink. It oozed slime. An oval shaped image flew out of the tap. “Kim, I think it touched me.”  The girls ran to the living room where they spied some ghosts whispering. 
“What are they saying?” said Kim.
“Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh…ughhhhhh,” said the ghosts.
Song looked through her goggles and spotted a gooey figure lying on a couch in the living room.  They tried to get closer to it but another one grabbed Kim like a kidnapper. She shouted for help as loud as she could. Song ran wheezing. She tripped on the rumpled carpet and crawled to the kitchen doors. Cuts covered her leg. 
The ghost slammed Kim onto a counter and stuffed a napkin into her mouth. Kim inhaled, feeling sleepy. Song stood up and kicked open the door, opening her mouth, raising her eyebrows. Song hoisted Kim over her shoulder and carried her into the living room. Song sat her on a chair and said, “Kim, wake up!”
She didn’t wake up. Song took off Kim’s goggles and looked through them. She lay down on her back. She felt something wet at the back of her neck and turned around. It was the same ghost they saw on the couch earlier. Like the wind, it whooshed. Song touched the ghost and her hand went through its skin. The ghost’s face looked like a reflection on a river. Song fainted and fell to the ground.
When Song woke up the ghost was floating right on top of her head. 
“Hi,” Song said to the ghost.
“Aren’t you scared of me?” said the ghost.
Song said, “N-n-o, but, are you the ghost that haunts Lexington Middle School?  By the way, what’s your name?” 
“I don’t know! That’s the problem so just call me whatever you want!” 
“Anyway, are you the ghost who haunts my school?” 
“I won’t stop!” 
“No way! Someone got rid of my tombstones so I’m going to keep on haunting the girls’ bathroom until they put them back where they were!” 
“What if I brought your tombstones back here?”   
“Sure, that would make me glad. You know, this is the house I’ve lived in since I died. They lost my tombstone when they moved my grave so my spirit brought me here. I can’t live in an unmarked grave. I can’t deal with that kind of anonymity.”
“How did you die?” said Song.
“I died in the bathroom. Mean kids threw me in the trash. Nobody else in the school noticed I was gone. The garbage men took me away. I was too buried in paper towels for them to hear my screaming. They threw me into the back of the truck and I was smashed to death in the trash compactor.”
“Whoa. Why did they move your grave?” 
“I was buried in San Francisco but they moved my grave to Colma because of a stupid rule, and left the tombstone behind.” 
“Do you have any clue which cemetery it is?”
“I only remember the words Eternity and Hills,” the ghost said, and jiggled like jelly through the window, leaving a slimy puddle on the sill.
Song lifted Kim’s hair off her ear and said, “Wake up!” 
“What happened?” said Kim.
“I’ll tell you later. Right now we have to go.”
When Song and Kim got to school the next morning, everyone stared. 
The wobbly-headed girl with braces asked them, “Are you the ones who made it leave?”
“Made what leave?” said Song.
“The ghost. Did you make it leave?”
“I’m not sure,” said Kim.
“Show that ghost to us!” said the girl.
The ghost glided out of the classroom door to the principal’s office. The principal was not there. Her cell phone was on her desk. 
The ghost took the principal’s phone, hid under the desk and called Molly. She pressed the buttons slowly and softly. Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, and beep. The doorknob opened before she pressed the last number. The principal walked to her desk with a bagel in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. She sat on her chair and kicked her shoes off. The shoes dropped in front of the ghost’s face. 
“Where is my phone?” the principal screamed. “Where is my phone? Where is my phone! I better not have lost it. No!” 
The ghost hit the end button. She peaked her head up to see if the principal was looking at the door. The ghost floated up a little from the ground, floated out of the door to the girls’ bathroom and dialed Song’s phone number again. 
Song’s phone rang. 
“Whose phone is ringing?” said Mr. Fingbo.
“What, you know that you might be in trouble!” Kim whispered. 
“Can you do something?” said Song. 
“Fine,” said Kim.
“What are you two talking about?” said Mr. Fingbo.
“Umm, it’s not a phone,” said Kim “It’s just a Thank You card that comes with a song in it.” 
“Put it away,” said Mr. Fingbo. “It’s very disturbing.”
“Hello?” said Song, sneaking out of the classroom.
“Hello! It’s the ghost!”
“What?” said Song “I almost got in trouble by you!”
“Please find my tombstones quickly!” The ghost said.
“I’m in class! I’ll try to find it later!”
The ghost’s slippery heart beat rapidly. She felt closer to her own body.
The school bell rang. Song and Kim sat on a bench in the school’s yard. Song called the ghost.
“Hello,” said a voice. It wasn’t the ghost’s. “Who is this?”
“Hello, are you there?”
“Who is this?” Song said.
“You are calling the principal of Lexington Middle School.”
Song immediately ended the call.  “We need to find the ghost,” she said.
Song and Kim put on their goggles and walked towards the old house. The ghost stood next to a truck parked in the mansion’s driveway.
“Song, Kim!” she said.
Song and Kim ran towards the ghost.
“Let’s go find my tombstones!” she said.
The girls brought the ghost to Song’s house. Song sat on a couch in the living room. Her father sat by her, channel surfing. On top of the fireplace stood a framed picture of her grandma. On the bottom right, it said Eun Kyung Ah, 1996. On the back of the picture, it said, “Hills of Eternity Cemetery.”
“Are you looking at Grandma Kyung’s picture?” Song’s dad said. “You didn’t want to go to her funeral.”
“Can we go there someday? And can that someday be today?” shouted Song. She showed him the doorway and handed the car key to him. He groaned then slouched.
Headstones stood in rows surrounded by trees. Song’s dad stood close to his mother’s grave. The girls looked for the ghost’s gave. A blue light glowed through the dirt near Song’s grandmother’s grave.
“At last we finally found it,” Song said.
They rolled up their sleeves and dug. After a minute they hit something. Kim stuck her hand into the dirt and grabbed the tombstone. Words and dates were inscribed on the stone in rhinestones.  The ghost flew right past Song’s dad, took the tombstone then landed on her grave. She smiled, clutching the tombstone, closing her eyes. The rhinestones flashed. She wiggled her fingers: skin and bone and muscle. The wind blew her hair, and her face glowed. 
Kim fainted and fell to the ground. Song dropped to her knees beside Kim. Kim opened her eyes and gasped. 
“What happened?” said Song.
“I had the weirdest dream ever. It was about a ghost.”
“A dream?” Kim whispered. “Look, behind you.”
The ghost-girl, still smiling, walked into a grove of trees.
About the Author

Hi! My name is Linda. I am ten years old. I was born on December 19, 2001 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I live in San Francisco with my mom, dad, and my little brother. I love swimming and I am good at it. I want to be good at English Language Arts one day. My teacher thinks I am perceptive but I don’t know want that means. If I were a plant I would be a Californian poppy because it is bright. My favorite author is Pseudonymous Bosch because he writes about mysteries and secrets. One thing I wonder about a lot is how the universe was created. The happiest time of my life was when my brother was born. If I could pick one super power I would pick shape shifting because you can turn into anything. I speak English and Mongolian at home. I’m also the author of Can You Dance? This is my second published story.

CAN YOU DANCE? By Linda M., age 9

Tap, tap, tap. Hermit Crab twirled and jumped. He was Contestant Number 6 on Can You Dance. Lights flashed and it was a little dark. The studio was filled with salt water. There was an echo when the judge talked. Hermit danced the moonwalk. Other hermit crabs joined him. They said, “Go Hermit!” twice. He stopped because someone began singing the ABC song. The crowd clapped with the beat. He got dizzy then he felt his legs crack.

Oh no! Hermit thought. The other hermit crabs cheered for Hermit even though he lay on the floor, curled up like a baby.
He took a cab home. He was covered with scars and dry patches. Some of his rough skin fell off.

At home, Hermit’s mother asked him what happened.

Hermit said, “I cracked my leg.”

“Let me get a broom to sweep your cracks.”

“But how will sweeping fix my cracks?”

“It works on messes.”

The sweeping helped clean the floor but did not fix Hermit’s cracked legs. Hermit went to bed. He thought he might have to go to the doctor.

The next morning he threw up on his covers. He still felt dizzy. Hermit’s mother took him to the doctor.

“Could you come in tomorrow morning?” the nurse said.

“Can’t you see him now? It’s an emergency.”

“Well Dr. Phil is almost done with lunch. So please wait.”

Hermit waited until a nurse called his name.

“Hermit,” said a nurse. Hermit followed her into an examining room.

Bright lights shined down on the bed. Some of the shelves had glass doors with locks. It smelled like a laundromat because of all the cleaning chemicals.

“So tell me what happened,” the nurse said.

Hermit told the nurse about the disco injury.

“So you danced and then cracked?” said the nurse. “Well if you do that again just put oyster cream on the spot you cracked.” She pointed at a cast on the counter. “Or, put on a cast if you crack your leg, or these band-aids for anywhere else.”

The nursed rubbed the oyster cream onto his legs. It burned. It smelled like mint and felt like sticky honey.

“Thank you,” Hermit said. “But how will it help me?”

“Just try it out. I will tell you how later. Come back tomorrow morning ok?”


The next morning, Hermit found out he made it to the disco finals. But he had to go to the doctor’s office too. He decided to go to the contest. When Hermit arrived, it was his turn but he ran away because he was scared of getting dizzy and cracking his leg again.

“Well that is a waste,” said the judge.

Hermit took a bus home.

He opened the door. He walked to the kitchen and got a cup of salt water. He set the cup on his stool near the couch and sat down. He picked up his cup of salt water. He took a sip but then he sneezed! The salt water spilled on Hermit and burned his cracks. Hermit went outside to get some fresh air and to visit the dolphin, Grace. He walked into Grace’s house. It was big. She had an old telephone next to a small TV. Grace was making seaweed tea. The teacup had little flowers on it, which reminded him of the time he drank tea after his first dance competition. The dance studio had the exact same teacups.

Grace invited Hermit to a restaurant for lunch. Hermit followed Grace into the sea. “Thanks Grace,” said Hermit.

On the way to the restaurant, Grace asked Hermit, ”You have a doctor’s appointment right?”

“I skipped it,” said Hermit.

“You’re going to the doctor’s, come on!”

“Fine,” Hermit said. ” But I want to eat first”

“At the Pacific Clams.”


They swam to the restaurant.

“It smells bad here,” Hermit said when they got there.

“That’s you.”

They went inside and sat at a table.

“Are you ready to order?” Grace said.


Grace grouched and a waiter came up to their table.

“What would you like,” the waiter said.

“I would like lemon chicken and wrapped seaweed,” Hermit said.

“Ok, it will be ready in fifteen minutes.”

“Wait, wait, wait. That long?”


“Can’t it be ten or five minutes? I am starving!”

“We need time to cook it.”

“I’m going to the bathroom,” Hermit said, getting up from the table.

In the bathroom, Hermit looked in the mirror. He felt dizzy and about to faint. He fell down and turned green. Hermit passed out and he came to on the floor with a bloody nose. The waiter was there, looking down at him and freaking out. He carried Hermit outside. Grace ran over.

Grace said, ”He’s still breathing but he’s out cold.”

The waiter called the ambulance.

Hermit woke up in the hospital. He felt like he was gone. His hand hung over the edge of the bed, clutching the TV remote. He turned the TV on and flipped through the channels. The disco contest was on the dance channel. Welcome back to Can You Dance. We are missing a contestant. Hermit Crab. He is in the hospital. We are very sad so we are giving him a gift card to the Pacific Clams.

Hermit turned off the TV and closed his eyes.

About the Author
Hi, my name is Linda. I am nine years old and I was born in Mongolia. I live with my mom, dad and my brother in San Francisco. I like doing math and I am good at it. Someday, I want to be better at doing art. When I grow up, I want to be a pediatrician. My favorite books are the Ivy and Bean book collection. I want to be famous for being an actress. If I could only ask one question for the rest of my life, I would ask, “Why is there human life?” because I wonder if someday humans will become extinct and there will be new creatures. I want the power to predict the future so I could warn people if something bad was going to happen.